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How much longer can Umno leaders rule with secrecy and threats?
Liu Tian Khiew
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew
Wednesday): An Open Letter to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Vice President of UMNO and the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister
Dear Tan Sri,
I am borrowing the
question raised by Malaysian in his letter to Malaysiakini
titled " Asli report:
Muhyiddin's threat disappointing
" as the topic of
Like Malaysian, I too was disappointed with Tan Sri's remarks on the controversial Bumiputera equity debate.
You have spoken twice on the matter within the last one week. It shows the subject is of great interest and importance to you.
In my earlier statement titled "
Bumiputera equity- 18.9% or 45%?" (
Malaysiakini) , I have asked you to disclose the methodology used
by the EPU to determine the percentage of equity held by different
ethnic Malaysians and foreigners instead of discrediting the facts and
figures presented by Asli.
I certainly did not expect you to
describe Asli's findings as "rubbish" and worse still, you even
threaten to take action against Asli if the think-tank refuses to
withdraw their report.
And what were you thinking about when you say that " as Malay, I'm very angry." What were you angry about?
I think Malaysian is right. How
long can UMNO leaders rule with secrecy and threats?
Business Times Malaysia has a report on
October 9, 2006, which I find very sensible and relevant to the debate
today. I like to reproduce the report here in toto for the
benefit of our discussion.
Malaysian Insight :A lack of openness is driving investors away.
One example is the reluctance in discussing the extent
of NEP's success.
Tan Sri, I have highlighted the last paragraph for you to read and ponder over it. I think the concern expressed in the report is well founded. Secrecy and threats may only work for some period of time.
My challenge to you remains unchanged:
please show us how the figure 18.9% was concluded. Or prove to us in
what ways the figure 45% put forward by Asli was erroneous?
To calculate the value of equity, it's
wrong to base on par value instead of market value. The par value
simply cannot reflect the real value of any share or equity for that
matter. And the value of one Hwa Tai share cannot match the value of
one Maybank share although their par values may be of same value.
And no one is saying the Malay poor needs
no more help from the government. In fact, all Malaysian poor needs
the help from the government. No government should neglect or
marginalize the poor. To help the poor and close the gap between the
haves and have-nots is a duty and obligation no government could run
You are correct to point out that many Bumiputera brothers and sisters in Sabah and Sarawak are still living in poor. But did you do anything significant and substantial to help them in the past? Did you do anything to stop both the chief ministers in these two states to amass wealth for themselves?
I believe Asli is now under tremendous
pressure to withdraw and apologize to the Government. I hope they have
the resolute and courage to stand by their study and finding.
If Mirzan Mahathir, the Chairman of Asli,
was eventually succumbed to pressure and forced to withdraw the study
and finding of his institution as suggested by some of your colleagues
in UMNO, we would not be overly surprised.
But Tan Sri, the fact remains unchanged –
that the 45% figure has not been proven incorrect by the government.
And ordinary Malaysians would have more reasons to believe that the
Asli's figure is more accurate than the 18.9% concocted by the
And many Malaysians will start thinking (
they were not allowed to say ) that the basis to continue with the NEP
( nicknamed "Never Ending Policy" , "Never Ending Payouts", "Not Equal
Policy", Never Enough Payouts") is not valid.
And sooner or later, the Malay poor will
realize that NEP is not helping them after all said and done, but just
a vehicle to enrich a handful of well-connected Malays.
And the entire nation and its people have to pay a heavy price for an outdated, ineffective and self-defeating economic policy.
Tan Sri, I put it to you that the NEP is destroying the Malays ( Malaysiakini), a claim made by the former Guthrie and PNB boss Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.
Your former colleague Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was also of similar view. He too has said that NEP has lived out its usefulness after all these years and I quote,
… "Far from
charting a new way forward, the Ninth Malaysia Plan that Mr. Abdullah
unveiled in April retains one of the ugliest legacies of the past: the
race-based affirmative action policy that favors bumiputra -- mostly
Muslim Malays -- for educational and business opportunities. While
this policy may have served a useful purpose in promoting more
equitable growth during the initial decades after Malaysia's 1957
independence, it has long since outlived its usefulness. In recent
years, it has devolved into an instrument for corruption and rent
seeking that heightens racial tensions and deters foreign investments.
Most of all, it demonstrates the Abdullah administration's lack of
resolve in dealing with the challenge of global competitiveness while
ensuring social justice for all."
I would also argue that the NEP is depriving the rights of non-Malays.
In fact, Malaysians now are saying that
the denial on your part was to cover up the fact that wealth was
concentrated in the hands of a few Bumiputera. Some feels that it is
UMNO's underarm tactic to understate the wealth of Bumiputera so that
people like you could continue to mislead the Malay poor for their
support. How I wish there is no truth in such arguments.
And please tell your colleagues not to
turn the debate into a racial spat and bring up the ugly May 13
Incident to threaten the non-Malays again. I noticed some of the
overzealous writers in the Malay press have attempted to do that.
This would not work anymore except making the debate meaningless and
leaving a very bad taste.
It's time for the UMNO-led Barisan
Nasional Government to admit the anomalies of NEP and move on with a
colour-blind economic policy as suggested by DAP Sec Gen Lim Guan Eng.
I trust you to talk to all your peers in the Cabinet and convince them that "you guys can no longer rule with secrecy and threats."
Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew
Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew,
DAP CEC member and NGO Bureau Chief